At the OECD International Transport Forum in Leipzig, Germany, the annual gathering of the world’s transport ministers from more than 50 countries (22-24 May), the views of the global shipping industry were represented by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the principal global trade association for shipowners.
ICS explained the realities of the very serious economic challenges presently confronting shipping at a special ministerial session on the financing of sustainable maritime transport.
Speaking on behalf of ICS, Stena AB CEO, Carl-Johan Hagman said: “In the current economic climate the shipping industry has to work in close contact with shipping’s global regulators, especially the IMO, and make them fully aware of the implications of their actions.
“Protection of the environment is of great importance,” he confirmed, pointing out the need for balance between the measures taken with the economic impact of these measures.
Mr Hagman explained to the closed meeting: “Distillate fuels currently cost around fifty per cent more than residual fuel and the difference between the two fuels is expected to increase as the use of distillate becomes mandatory. Without significant extra production of distillate fuels, how should ship operators manage these extra fuel costs?”
Questioning how ship operators will manage all the additional costs associated with ecomeasures, Mr Hagman said the increases “threaten to rise so high that they may have a dramatic impact on world trade or force cargo back onto roads or to other less carbon-efficient modes of transport.
“If governments and regulators are serious about the concept of sustainable shipping, then we must give serious consideration to these cost-benefit questions,” he concluded.